Family Planning Conference yields new Committments
The International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 12-15 2013 offered a great opportunity to call attention to the often overlooked promise of postpartum family planning. It was a chance to raise awareness of the close linkages between challenges presented by lack of access to family planning, rapid population growth, food insecurity, environmental changes and stalled economic growth. Unfortunately, many policymakers ignore the critical role that family planning can play in tackling these obstacles, writes FHI 360.
ICM's Chief Executive, Frances Ganges attended the conference with its many highlights. One important event was the launch of the “Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning”, by WHO and USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP). The document provides a roadmap to equip policymakers and program planners with strategies for implementing PPFP at the national and local level.
Anne Pfitzer, family planning team leader for MCHIP said “This resource is going to change how family planning is provided to women around the time of birth in the postpartum period”. Not only do pregnancies during this period hold the greatest risk for mother and baby, the first 12 months after childbirth also present the greatest opportunities in terms of number of contacts with health care services. When mothers and babies come to see their midwife or another health worker, they can receive advise on family planning, the methods and its importance. Many women are unaware of the risks of becoming pregnant again so soon after giving birth. The Conference organizers said data for 27 developing countries show that “95 percent of postpartum women want to avoid another pregnancy” in the two years following birth. They added that “65 percent have an unmet need for contraception.”
This distinct need for family planning must be met in order to save the lives of women and children. The “Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning” will guide governments, ministries of health and other policy makers to implement family planning strategies at the national and local level. The document is available here.
The conference was a success with five countries making new commitments to FP2020, the UK Department for International Development announced a £27 million commitment to FP2020 over five years and the first FP2020 progress report was launched!
Under the belief that measurement and results are necessary to drive transformational change, FP2020 established a measurement and evaluation framework to monitor and guide progress. The centerpiece of these efforts is a set of indicators to help track country progress, inform decision-making and determine the degree to which people’s needs are met. We will also identify and collect data on additional indicators to measure concepts around informed choice, autonomy and the extent to which family planning programs are implemented in accordance with human rights.